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When the weather gets hot, having a cold drink around is refreshing, no matter if you live alone or with a large family. Blenders are often used for such drinks yet not all of them are suited for handling large blocks of ice. In our reviews below, we search for the best blender for crushing ice cubes — blenders which can handle this sometimes-overlooked task without burning out the motor. A comprehensive guide will help you figure out which among the seven products shown would be best for your home.
Before you purchase an ice blender, you should be aware that some of the products do not resemble conventional blenders: with a large base and pitcher. They take on a variety of shapes and sizes. Due to this nature and the number of machines capable of crushing ice, you should familiarize yourself with the different types and what purpose/additions they all have. Let’s look further.
Ordinary blenders are the ones you’re probably most familiar with. They have a large, heavy base with buttons or touch screen indicators on the front and a big jug that houses the blades. The blades are very sharp and can emulsify most produce, and in some cases, harder items like coffee grounds and nuts.
However, not all blenders will perform well at shaving ice to a snow-like texture. While some can, most will just crush it until the ice becomes small enough for smoothies. You should also be aware that cheaper varieties may damage the motor when lots of ice is added, causing burnout and destroying the interior bearings that allow the blades to cut. In short, be careful when looking for a normal blender if iced drinks are your favorite beverage.
You’ve probably seen them at a bar before. Cocktail mixers will allow you to mix up your drink of choice, using alcoholic or non-alcoholic ingredients, and blend everything together inside the machine until it dispenses the drink you configure the blender to create. They are also known by many other names (often branded by the company selling the device) but the main selling point behind them is producing mixed drinks and daiquiris.
Some may come with motors powerful enough to make blended drinks; just check with the features of the product before you get one. Other consumers mistakenly purchase them with the belief that solid produce other than ice could be added into the mix. While this is not always the case, a blender could be better for you when large quantities of fruits are expected to accompany your beverage.
Smoothie blenders are much smaller in dimensions than normal blenders. They are usually outfitted with lots of cups, some of which are compatible for use during the blending process. For example, a smoothie blender will display a plastic top on the upper portion of the device. Fruit and some vegetables (and ice) are added into this section. Once everything is loaded up, the machine is turned on and within seconds, a nice smoothie is ready for consumption.
Ice can also be shaved. When the process is finished, the cup that’s still housed on the blender itself is simply removed and turned right side up. Finally, a lid is placed on top and the drink can be enjoyed without pouring into another container. Smoothie blenders are great for people who wish to have their drinks made quickly with hardly any clean up necessary.
Snow Cone Machines/Ice Blenders
Ice is sometimes best prepared in a blender that specializes in crushing it, and nothing else. Ice crushers can be large or small. Most machines will typically have blades in the interior that can fit large blocks or chunks of ice from your freezer and pulverize it into a snowy texture that’s fluffy and great for all sorts of drink ideas. The only catch is that some of them are unable to be used with fruits. You will have to blend your fruits and other solid produce in a separate machine.
Because of this, crushed blenders work best for cocktails and drinks that are already in a liquid consistency. If you do need to do more with an ice crusher, try to pick a machine that allows you to change the size of the ice being dispensed. Additionally, even the best blender for ice will still take up your time if the ice cubes are not completely frozen, so take note of time constraints from freezing ice prior to using it in such products.
How To Choose?
Choosing the best ice crushing blenders comes down to what drinks you plan on making. For fruits and smoothies, consider a conventional or smoothie blender. Cocktails and all other drinks are great for mixers and standalone ice crushers. If you already own a blender, you might want something that simply dispenses the beverage better or has better mobility and speed.
Smoothie blenders offer these attributes and some of them are very lightweight, making transport to outdoor events such as campsites, RV trips, or tailgating very easy. Mixed drinks that are mostly liquids are highly recommended for processing with cocktail blenders. And the Ice crushers, while suitable for nearly everything, go well again with liquid drinks such as snow cones, coffees, and even semi-frozen yogurt.
The Best Ice Crushing Blenders Reviewed
If you’ve ever been on a beach vacation, you may remember the exotic drinks that were served. This could include margaritas, pina coladas, or non-alcoholic beverages served with chilled ice. The Margaritaville mixed drink maker will allow you to experience this again in the comfort of your home.
The blender is small in width and should fit on small countertops by itself, so long as you have the clearance necessary to accommodate its height of 18 inches. If not, you’ll probably find yourself taking it apart as soon as you’re finished. However, if you do wish to store, remember that it’s interchangeable; most of the parts disassemble in large portions, of which are easy to clean and can be placed in your dishwasher. You can cycle between manual and automatic blending techniques, so if you want to be creative in your drinks, see what you can muster up from scratch. If not, automatic is the way to go.
Party drinks of all kinds (cocktails, mixed drinks) are acceptable. Just add what you want into the external cup that comes with the device, dispense into the large portion behind the green cup, and wait until the mixture pours into the latter. There’s no need to use other pitchers to handle the job. A lid seals up the jug to help you serve without spilling the drink.
The blades fitted inside can blend slushies and beverages into ice but are not suitable for solid fruits. This means: anything that’s not in liquid form will have a hard time processing through the dispenser. Furthermore, the ice may become stuck in the interior and require that you remove it by hand for the blender to work again. And plastic is the primary material used for its build, making damage likely to happen if the product falls or hits another object.
Overall, the Margaritaville Bahamas Concoction Maker is great when you need simple mixed drinks yet do not require anything other than such. If you only need it for the ice, it can be used to shave the pieces down with nothing else added to the mixture. It’s best for those who love premixed liquid drinks and simply need something that can dispense slush without the time required to do so on an ordinary blender.
- Allows the user to alternate between manual and automatic blending modes
- Comes with a mixer for adding ingredients prior to blending
- The blades are efficient enough to blend most slushed mixtures without issue
- The ice sometimes gets stuck in the shaving machine, requiring ice to be taken out for it to run as normal
- Most of the blender is made of plastic, making it more likely that parts will break if dropped or handled roughly
- The height is 18 inches, looks awkward on the counter, and is difficult to store without disassembly
The MengK Smoothies Blender is an ordinary blender that specializes in smoothies (obviously) and is outfitted with controls that are easy to navigate. The pitcher is pretty tall and can accommodate about 67 ounces of contents within the jug. If the ability to break down ice and produce is the plan, the MengK will work smoothly for shaving and emulsifying.
There’s a small tamper featured with the blender that helps speed up the process. It’s great when large portions of fruit are added and helps to avoid lengthy preparation that requires cutting up everything into small portions. Most items, including ice, will be crushed into a smooth texture — with the help of two sets of blades at the bottom. The first set has four cutters in total while the one underneath has two. When the machine is turned on, they allow the food and ice to constantly move towards the blades, lessening the chance of having chunks of unblended fruit in your smoothie.
However, it should be noted that the blades get very loud when turned on, even in low settings. Along with this noise are the vibrations from the motor itself, which is strong enough to move the entire blender from its initial location. If you don’t want your machine to fall to the ground during operation, you must hold down the lid and base while it’s running — to keep everything in one place. And burnout can still occur during heavy use, particularly when large portions are being blended that are difficult to cut. Too much ice over a consecutive period of blending may increase the chances of this happening.
The MengK Smoothies Blender is still a great way to add real fruit into your ice mixes, producing results that are fine and great in any drink you can think up. Use this if you think other ice mixers are limited in what can be blended with their cutters. This blender will take most solid and frozen foods that are thrown at it.
- When adding ice, the blender quickly dissolves it into a slush consistency within seconds
- A tamper is included with the blender to shorten up the blending time for smoothies
- An additional set of 2 blades are located underneath the main set, allowing contents on the edges to pull towards the center when activated
- The blender is loud and will deafen all noises within the immediate vicinity of the product
- Vibrations from the motor will move the machine if not held down during operation
- Burnout is likely to happen when too many large solid pieces are added to the blender, including ice
The Cosori is a smoothie blender that has several advantages over normal mixers. First, there’s mobility. There are two 32-ounce containers and a 24-ounce backup: a great addition for people with small families. The blades can withstand hardened substances such as coffee grounds and solid pieces of ice. If you love frappuccinos, this is the right product for you.
There are three buttons on the blender. Other than the on/off button, the pulse and auto blend can be used separately or alternative during the session. You probably won’t need the pulse feature, however. Most smoothies can be blended within seconds, unless you’re doing something with harder pieces of fruit — like pineapples. While you blend, suction cups at the bottom help to keep the machine from toppling over. Although the entire body is shaped somewhat like a lava lamp, the movement is usually not significant enough to require that you elbow the top to keep everything from spilling out.
Yet there is one area of concern. The blades are difficult to fasten onto the bottom and there have been reports of them loosening while the blender is spinning, causing damage to the entire machine and rendering it useless. To avoid this, ensure that the cutters are firmly attached, referring to the instruction manual to make sure nothing will come apart during operation. And the inverted cup is also difficult to hold down at times and may seep liquid content from the lower part when the pressure inside the blender is high.
The Cosori is recommended for people who love smoothies more than anything. Shaving sizes can be altered with the pulse feature, so be sure not to blend for too long if you don’t want the mixture to be too small. The size makes it a great buy for outdoor and indoor use, with everything manufactured from BPA-free plastics (including the additional cups).
- The bottom is fitted with small suction cups to help keep the machine stable when running
- Blades are very sharp and are able to evenly dispense blended coffees, shaved ice, and smoothies
- The three-button configuration allows the user to control the size of the blend, from either shaved or slush
- The blade attachment may become loosened and damage the machine if not placed tightly on the blender
- Cups included with the blender have no measurement indicators, making it likely that too much or too little will be blended
- The glass piece on top of the blender is difficult to fasten to the bottom and may leak if not placed tightly
The Ninja is another traditional mixer and the best blender for frozen fruit that’s capable of handling both food and ice products. If you love to mix frozen fruit with more ice, the device will churn out great looking smoothies that have great texture and few lumps. It is traditional in all the sense of the word and can double for use for blending things other than shaving ice if need be.
Back to frozen fruits, they take only a few seconds to blend up, thanks to the help of the oddly-placed blades at the bottom of the pitcher. And startup should be a breeze. The buttons are easy to figure out and have four-speed settings, including Pulse. Ice is cut great and can come out in small blocks or flakes that resemble snow. Depending on what you prefer to make, the blades perform well under any condition, no matter if the fruit is solid or cut down to fit into the machine better.
And you will probably end up cutting them down. As stated, the blades are placed in a position that makes them rise high above their base, making it necessary to push or move contents around for everything to fit inside the pitcher. This can be quite tedious since you’ll want to move slowly to avoid cutting yourself. And debris can cling to the edges of the blades.
If you don’t wash the pitcher immediately after blending, the leftover contents will be very hard to clean and may require rubber gloves or a large towel for safety purposes. Anyhow, the Ninja Countertop Blender is definitely one of the best, if not the best blender for frozen drinks. Unlike lower quality blenders, ice comes out well on its own and will not break the machine in the first week of use.
- Frozen fruit and ice mixtures blend extremely fast and leave no lumpy portions when completed
- Configuration is traditional and easy to use without looking at the instruction manual
- When handling only ice, the blades can shave it into a snow-like mixture
- The pitcher is cheap and may break easily from brushing against the blades when handled too roughly
- If not cleaned immediately, residue can build up and make the blades very difficult to clear
- The blades take up a lot of space at the bottom and can cause trouble when adding large pieces to the pitcher
Let’s have a look at something different. The Hawaiian Shaved Ice machine is strictly for shaving and nothing else. The dimensions, while small, will take up about the same amount of space as a normal coffee maker. This crusher ranks high on the list for being the best blender for crushing ice; there are no other responsibilities allocated to the device itself.
However, the instructions for achieving the quality of ice you may wish for requires a small learning curve. Most home refrigerators can take up to 24 hours for the ice to become frozen solid. Any ice that is not will have trouble staying solid once the machine dispenses. For example, if you refrigerate ice for 3 hours and attempt to crush it with the Hawaiian, the ice will come out yet melt immediately upon contact with any liquid. As a result, you will need to prepare your ice long before you actually use it for blending.
Regardless, the positives outweigh the negatives. Although it does emit noise, it’s nowhere near as loud as a conventional blender, and when the ice does come out well, it remains some of the best textured, most powder-like ice available in a residential product. If you enjoy liquid beverages that are easily stirred by hand, the Hawaiian is the best personal blender for crushing ice. It is recommended for its minimalist design and simple dispensing technique. Just remember to freeze those ice cubes!
- Ice comes out dry yet blended to a fine consistency
- The motor is much quieter than a conventional blender
- The size of the ice maker is small enough to fit on a countertop without taking up too much room for other products
- Ice must be frozen solid for the machine to dispense without melting too quickly upon contact with liquid
- Only one serving can be handled at a time, requiring extensive work to create several cups quickly without melting
- When shaving large pieces of ice, the upper portion of the machine must be held tightly so all contents are shaved evenly
The NutriBullet Pro is another smoothie blender that has an assortment of containers and lids to go along with your drink. Blending time is fast and clean up only takes a good rinse in the sink after being used. Most of the pieces on the mixer itself are easy to take apart and store as well. You could even carry it with you during travel as the product will fit into most backpack or luggage bags without hassle.
While the blender does its job in blending fruit and ice, minor annoyances are mostly localized to the cup that it used during its operation. Leaks are a frequent issue and solid chunks of fruit and ice tend to stick near the edges of the button (along with the areas closest to the blades, of all places).
While this problem is sometimes heightened when thick fruits or more ice is added at the same time, it still bears mentioning since you’ll probably end up having to wipe down the cup you used to blend everything up in the first place. A lid can be placed on the top, so wipe it down on these occasions to keep it from getting sticky.
On its own, the NutriBullet Pro is the best blender for smoothies with ice and remains a great mixer for anyone who’s always on the go. The blades are easy to get clean and will not rust, making this a great product for anyone that dislikes dishwashing by hand. Out of all the machines listed, this is probably the most friendly to use in places other than your kitchen.
- The blending container at the top can be turned and used as a cup on its own
- Parts come off easily and the blades do not require thorough washing
- External attachments are suitable for all drink consistencies
- When blending for longer than a minute, contents may leak from the bottom of the container
- Some solid fruits may not blend well and may leave small pieces untouched by the blades
- Rotational speed of the blades is slow, and the blades are awkward to attach
Last is the Smartxchoices Electric Commercial ICE Shaver. This is the best blender for crushing large quantities of ice for lots of people in a short amount of time. Only ice is placed into the tub, which houses rotating blades strong enough to break down thick chunks of ice into the crushed, shaved, or snow-like textures. It’s built with commercial craftsmanship, so use it in your home or at work. There’s a tube that allows melted ice to drain away. You will need to use it near a sink so that the liquid does not end up on the floor, especially if you’re crushing lots of ice in one sitting.
Although the dimensions are quite large, it should be enough to fit most kitchens. You may have to move most appliances that are close to your sink out of the way, but nothing serious to the point that requires an entire rearrangement of the kitchen. Other than this minor issue, the blender performs well, even when using ice that is not frozen completely solid. Most dispensers cannot move anywhere near as quickly as this machine can, so consider the Smartxchoices ice crush blender if you have a large family or simply need to produce lots of ice in a short amount of time.
- Made with commercial-grade interior and exterior parts
- Since only ice is placed inside, cleanup is very easy
- The ice’s size can be changed from medium-sized granules to completely shaved
- The dimensions are large and difficult to use in small kitchen spaces
- Must be used in a place where melted ice can drain into a separate location
Picking the best blender for ice was not as easy as you may think. The variety of machines available, with each of them being unique in their own way, made us consider the one which has the most features and compatibilities. For this, the winner is the Ninja Professional Countertop Blender.
As laid out in the guideline, knowing your intended use of the product beforehand will determine which mixer will satisfy you the most. The Ninja not only is the best blender for smoothies and ice, but it can also find use for other alternative mixes, including cocktails or simply ice shaving alone. For this reason, it’s highly suggested as the go-to machine for all blending that involves ice in any capacity.